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Monday, February 6, 2023

NASA’s New Hubble Share, Features A Brilliant, Crowded Starscape!

From our limited vantage point here on Earth, we can see that outer space is a vast, empty place. It is that knowledge that makes this look at NGC 6380 all the more surreal.

This latest Hubble image share highlights the globular cluster that’s gone by many (and, as NASA notes, somewhat boring) names since its existence was first recorded in 1826. The actual sight of NGC 6380 is anything but boring, however.

Look at this glorious starscape…

That bright, blue showstopper at the top of the image isn’t actually part of NGC 6380. The globular cluster, a spherical formation of stars held together by gravity, is 35,000 light-years from Earth. Our blue friend, a star dubbed HD 159073, is much closer at only (lol) 4,000 light-years away.

NGC 6380, as with most things in deep space, is limited by what we can observe from a great distance. It is part of the Scorpio constellation, but from our small, naked eyes, it is just a single point of light. As you can see above, it is absolutely stunning when we zoom in for a closer look.

Hubble is still functioning, which is why images like this are possible. With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope set for late 2021, the satellite is nearing its end of life.

Back in June, Hubble’s onboard computer stopped working, but that problem appears to have been resolved now. So enjoy this view of deep space, compliments of Earth’s very best eye in the sky (for now).

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